In Trump NASA budget, asteroid trip out, Mars in

WASHINGTON – No more mission to bring astronauts to an asteroid but stable funding for a trip to Mars. A cut in Earth science programs but support for a mission to study Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. Elimination of education programs but more resources to improve cybersecurity of the space program.

President Trump is proposing a $19.1 billion budget for NASA in 2018 that is about the same as the current year’s $19.3 billion allocation — not bad considering the president is proposing deep cuts in many non-Defense programs. EPA alone would see a 31 percent reduction.

Budget highlights

Highlights of the Trump budget outline include:

  • Human exploration: $3.7 billion for the continued development of the Space Launch System that will power astronauts into deep space and the Orion capsule that will carry them safely to Martian orbit.
  • Commercial activities: the outline does not include specific numbers but states “the budget creates new opportunities for collaboration with industry.” There’s no indication the Trump administration is walking back progress on NASA programs using aerospace companies, such as SpaceX, Boeing and Orbital ATK, to deliver cargo and, eventually, humans to the International Space Station.